LUX, J. and CLERMONT, B.

The influence of mill speed and pulp density on the grinding efficiency for secondary stage grinding. International Platinum Conference ‘Platinum Adding Value’, The South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2004.

The influence of mill speed and pulp density on the grinding efficiency for secondary stage grinding
J. LUX* and B. CLERMONT*
*Magotteaux (Pty) Ltd, Bryanston, South Africa

Magotteaux, with the co-operation of Anglo Platinum, has erected a fully instrumented pilot plant at Frank concentrator, which is being used to study the influence of a variety of grinding parameters. This paper will discuss only the influence of mill speed and pulp density on secondary stage grinding. A ∅ 0.82 x 1 m open circuit mill was used with reclaimed Merensky tailings as feed. The conclusions apply to this pilot plant but further investigation needs to be done to verify whether the same trends will be applicable to a large industrial-scale mill.

Pilot plant description
The milling pilot plant consists of two containers mounted on top of each other (see Figures 1 and 2). The bottom container holds the mill, the drive train, rollers and the high-tension cabinet. The feed boxes (fine and coarse feed) are built into the top container. The sizes of the available mills are: • ∅0.82 x 1.0 m (used for the testwork described below) • ∅1.3 x 2.2 m. The following parameters are measured online: • Mill inlet water (l/h) • Mill outlet water (l/min) • Speed (rpm) • Mill torque on the driving shaft (Nm) • Electric power (kW) • Mill weight (kg) • Throughput (kg/h). The absorbed power is calculated by multiplying the torque on the driving shaft with the shaft speed (rad/sec) and hence excludes any losses associated with the gearbox and motor. The pulp weight in the mill is obtained by subtracting the mill weight during the test from the empty mill weight, including the ball charge, at the start of the test. The pulp volume of the pulp in the mill is then calculated using the mill discharge density (before dilution) obtained during the sampling. The ball charge, and hence the volume of the voids between the balls in the mill, is known and we are then able to calculate the factor ‘volume pulp/volume voids between the balls’.

Overall, the repeatability is good as the variations between tests 8 and 9 are small. There is only a 10 µm difference in the P80, and a 1% difference in the %<75µm, and the particle size tendencies are correct (the finest feed gives the finest discharge).

Figure 1. Pilot plant showing the mill

Repeatability
The repeatability of the pilot plant was investigated in the past with 2 repeat test runs with the ∅0.82 x 1 m grate discharge mill in open circuit with a charge in equilibrium with a ∅60 mm ball top-up and a 32.4% ball filling degree. The data (see Table I) and particle sizes (see Graph 1) are mentioned.

Figure 2. Pilot plant feed conveyor

THE INFLUENCE OF MILL SPEED AND PULP DENSITY ON THE GRINDING EFFICIENCY

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25 6.0 73. it can be seen that the extra power input obtained by increasing the speed from 65% Vcrit to 90% Vcrit does not result in a finer grind in this case.08 3.993 203 93.9 45.8 30.5 1.100 73. the Wi and Wio are almost identical.43 4.9 90 PLATINUM ADDING VALUE .0 27.8 120 Test 9 80.8 59.6 90% Vcrit 288 41.0 73.9 36.2 319 287 60 71.54 25.998 203 91. as the changes described further in this paper are so large that the variation of the investigated parameters would be substantially greater than the repeatability error.9 42.7 1.6 315 285 59 68.7 91.4 1.4 36.90 70. The data is summarized below (see Table II).9 40.89 5.0 4405 400 18. It was felt that two repeats were adequate to illustrate the repeatability.16 75.27 4.637 16.9 110.4 1.8 321 292 61 70.988 207 91.7 36.616 12.136 73.988 207 90.7 45.659 73.7 801 5.0 4157 390 18.3 73.6 45.7 70% Vcrit 288 32. The best grinding efficiency measured in terms of Table II Pilot plant data for different speeds 65% Vcrit Dry Feed rate (kg/h) Speed (rpm) % Vcrit Absorbed power (kW) Wi (Kwh/T) % solids Mill discharge density F80 (micron) P80 (micron) Woi (Kwh/T) Kwh/T -75 micron Kwh/T -150 micron Kwh/T -212 micron Ratio Vpulp/Vvoids Weight of solids in mill (kg) Retention time (min) % < 75 micron 288 30.99 89.3 55.6 75% Vcrit 288 35.077 14.6 112 In addition.100 90 80 70 % Passing 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 10 Discharge test 8 Discharge test 9 Feed test 8 Feed test 9 100 Particle size 1000 10000 Graph 1.658 19. Contrary to common belief.1 318 286 60 70.40 65.56 26. Repeatability tests particle size distributions Table I Repeatability testing data Test 8 % solids mill discharge Speed (%Vcrit) Throughput (kg/h) Absorbed power (kW) Wi (kWh/T) KWh/t–75 µm % < 75 µm F80 (µm) P80 (µm) Wio (kWh/T) Vpulp/Vvoids (%) 80. Mill speed These tests were done with the ∅0.9 48.575 73.24 6. The speed was increased from 65% to 90% Vcrit.70 800 5.82 x 1 m overflow mill with a 30 mm graded ball charge and a 30% filling degree.4 82.23 28.

00 90.9 2. The example in Table III illustrates that the density has a large influence on the grinding efficiency.338 18. The balls become coated and the grinding efficiency decreases. Density These tests were done with a ∅0.17 5. However.9% solids 3. Particle size distribution for different mill speeds Table III Pilot plant data for different pulp densities 68.2 199 192 40 76.82 x 1 m grate discharge mill with a 30 mm graded ball charge and a 30% filling degree.9 56. The pilot mill is also equipped with a sensor measuring the ‘ball and pulp toe and shoulder angles’ (see Figure 3).00 20.6 38. The data is summarized in Table III.8% to 75.4 1.00 0.3 44.00 80.2 50. The extra power input achieved by increasing the speed does not seem to have any effect and does not result in a finer grind. If one increases the density.989 kg/l (see Graph 3).9 105.989 203 77.00 40.100.8 % solids Ore solids density Dry feed rate (kg/h) Speed (rpm) % Vcrit Absorbed power (kW) Wi (Kwh/T) % solids Mill discharge density F80 (micron) P80 (micron) Woi (Kwh/T) Kwh/T -75 micron Kwh/T -150 micron Kwh/T -212 micron Ratio Vpulp/Vvoids Weight of solids in mill (kg) Retention time (min) % < 75 micron 3. the higher dilution will ‘flush’ the fines out of the mill and reduce the overall residence time in the mill. In this case.00 10.058 203 81. This will result in a coarser grind with a slightly steeper particle size distribution curve (see Graph 4). The mill discharge pulp density was increased from 68.4 45.8 1.3 44.2 73.872 217 83. If one goes below that.446 68.31 75.6 Operating Work Index (Wio) or ‘Kwh/T passing a certain screen’ is obtained with the lowest speed.59 5.00 % Passing 60.7 162 146 30 78. THE INFLUENCE OF MILL SPEED AND PULP DENSITY ON THE GRINDING EFFICIENCY 91 . Graph 5 clearly illustrates how the ball charge stays quite compact till about 73% solids as the total media angle does not change.6 54. once one goes above this.9 145 115 24 75.00 74.4% solids 3.00 10 100 Sieve 1000 Test 63–65% Vcrit Test 63A–70% Vcrit Test 64–75% Vcrit Test 64A–90% Vcrit Graph 2.547 73.628 19.00 50.335 18.1 287 35.92 5.2 40.9% solids. the optimum %<75 µ is in the region of 73.1 289 35.11 75.00 70. the pulp will become too sticky and the ball charge expands.584 75.4% or 1.9 110.00 30.7 75. These data are then used to calculate the total pulp and ball charge angle (see Graph 5).1 288 35. the media charge starts expanding due to the high pulp viscosity and ball coating.8 38. The particles size distribution slope is not affected by the mill speed (see Graph 2) as the curves are mostly overlapping.9 89.

0% Graph 3.9% solids Graph 4.00 0. Particle size distribution for different densities total pulp charge angle total ball charge angle Figure 3.00 30.0% 76.8% solids 73.0% 75.00 % Passing 60.00 70.00 50. Pulp and ball charge angles 92 PLATINUM ADDING VALUE .00 90.0% % solids 74.0% 69.0% 71.00 20.0% 72.80 79 % <75 micron 78 77 76 75 68.00 10.0% 70.00 40.4% solids 75. %<75 µ in function of the mill discharge % solids 100.00 80.00 10 100 Sieve 1000 68.0% 77.0% 73.

However.4% or 1. The balls are being coated and the grinding efficiency decreases. This will result in a coarser grind with a slightly steeper particle size distribution curve. on the other hand. increases linearly with the pulp % solids. Pulp charge and ball charge angles The pulp volume. Conclusions The influence of mill speed Increasing the speed from 65% Vcrit to 90% Vcrit does not result in a finer grind in this case. THE INFLUENCE OF MILL SPEED AND PULP DENSITY ON THE GRINDING EFFICIENCY 93 . the higher dilution will ‘flush’ the fines out of the mill and reduce the overall residence time in the mill. It would be advisable to conduct plant surveys on a large scale mill equipped with a variable speed drive to validate this work. the optimum is in the region of 73. The extra power input obtained by increasing the speed does not have any effect and does not result in a finer grind. one should bear in mind that this testwork was done on a small pilot plant mill. If one goes below that. The influence of pulp density Pulp density has a large influence on the grinding efficiency. Increasing the density will make the pulp more sticky and the ball charge expands.205 200 195 190 Angle media angle 185 180 175 170 165 68 70 72 74 76 78 pulp angle % solids Graph 5.989 kg/l. In this case. Acknowledgements We wish to thank Anglo Platinum and especially the Frank concentrator personnel for all the facilities provided on site. The tendencies on a large mill might not be the same. The best grinding efficiency measured in terms of Operating Work Index (Wio) or ‘Kwh/T passing a certain screen’ is obtained with the lowest speed.

94 PLATINUM ADDING VALUE .